Transmeta releases low-power embedded Crusoe processors

Transmeta is releasing six new processors for embedded systems, such as point-of-sale terminals and industrial automation devices...

Transmeta is releasing six new processors for embedded systems, such as point-of-sale terminals and industrial automation devices today (Monday), focusing on an energy-efficient design that alleviates the need for a cooling fan within the device.

Three different clock speeds will be available for the special embedded processors: 667MHz, 800MHz, and 933MHz, with standard-power and low-power models available at each speed, said Tom Lee, director of embedded business development for Transmeta.

Designers of embedded systems need to fit a relatively large amount of processing power into a small space, Lee said.

The Crusoe SE processor regulates both its clock speed and its power usage, independent of the operating system or application it is running. This regulation happens 200 times a second, and allows the processor to apply only the amount of power needed to handle the application, so power is not wasted and heat is reduced, Lee said.

Heat given off by powerful processors is a cause of concern for all hardware designers and cooling fans are not suitable for all types of embedded products, such as medical or industrial devices that must be airtight.

The new Crusoe SE processors are based on the x86 instruction set, also used by rival chipmakers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. Any applications for embedded systems developed on those processors will, therefore, run on the Crusoe chip.

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